Greece says Turkish jets buzzed defense minister

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Greece on Sunday condemned

what it called harassment of its defence minister and army chief by Turkish jets over a small island in the Aegean Sea.

The encounter occurred according to Greek defence sources after Greek jets intercepted Turkish aircraft in what are common but occasionally dangerous manoeuvres by two NATO allies.

Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos and army chief of staff general Konstantinos Floros were onsureboard a helicopter that had taken off from the small island of Inoussses following a visit to forward bases near the border with Turkey.

The Greek press agency Ana reported that two Turkish jets flew over the island at an altitude of 3,500 feet (1,000 metres) after their helicopter lifted off, and then buzzed a second Greek island, Agathonissi, at 1,700 feet.

The Greek foreign ministry “firmly condemned the harassment” and urged Turkey to respect established rules “like other countries in the region instead of systematically violating them”.

Shortly before the incident, Greek jets had intercepted Turkish ones that according to Greek officials had violated the country’s air space, a military source said.

In April 2018, a Greek pilot died when his plane crashed following a similar interception.

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